Monday, April 23, 2012

"How to Build a Billion-Dollar Startup"

From Entrepreneur:
The quickest way to create a billion-dollar company is to take basic human social needs and figure out how to mediate them online.

(Look at the first wave of the web/mobile/cloud startups that have done just that: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,, Pandora, Zynga, WordPress, LinkedIn.)
It's your turn.

This week I'm in New York teaching a 5-day version of my Lean LaunchPad class at Columbia University. While the class teaches a process to search and validate a business model, it does not offer any hints on how to create a killer startup idea. So after teaching several hundred teams in the last few years, one of my students finally asked this question – “So how do we come up with an idea for the next billion dollar company?”

Is It a Problem or a Need?
I've now come to believe that the value proposition in a business model (value proposition is the fancy name for your product or service) fits into either one of two categories:
  • It solves a problem and gets a job done for a consumer or a company (accounting software, elevators, air-conditioning, electricity, tablet computers, electric toothbrushes, airplanes, email software, etc. )
  • Or it fulfills a fundamental human social need (friendship, dating, sex, entertainment, art, communication, blogs, confession, networking, gambling, religion, etc.)
Moving Needs to Bits = $1 Billion
Friendship, dating, sex, art, entertainment, communication, confession, networking, gambling, religion – would our hearts still beat and would our lungs still breathe without them? Of course. But these are things that make us human. They are hard-wired into our psyche. We've been doing them for tens of thousands of years.

Ironically, the emergence of the digital world has made us more efficient yet has left us with less time for face-to-face interaction. Yet it's these interactions that define our humanity....MORE
HT: Execupundit